A Celebration of Maryland Agriculture
A Review of Secret Stash Harvest Ale by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
Posted on 11/12/2014 by Chops
                   
Delicious
One of the coolest aspects of being a craft beer fan is watching beers evolve over time. Much like with wine, the quality of yearly harvests of can greatly influence the tastes of your favorite beers. Some years are better than others, some batches are better than others. It's this constant fluctuation that keeps craft beer fans on their toes.

Take Flying Dog's Secret Stash Harvest Ale for instance. This seasonal offering is brewed in tandem with Maryland's annual harvests, whatever they may yield. This means that when fall rolls around, we are treated to a new Flying Dog creation from the same familiar bottle. I always enjoy learning about the successes of local growers and how they affect this delicious brew. This year's Secret Stash (2014) combines local unmalted wheat and Cascade hops.

In the glass, this beer had the hazy sunny yellow coloration of a lovely wheat ale. It came with a big fluffy white head that had very nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a combination of grassy and weedy notes, which I love about fresh harvest ales. It instantly transports me to a breezy wheat field. The aroma also had a musky edge to it with a touch of warm citrus, pale malty sweetness, and a dusting of herbs. I found the whole introduction to be very pleasing and inviting. It gave me the impression of a hybrid between a summer lager and a savory witbier.

The flavor almost perfectly mirrored the aroma. The fresh grassy notes appeared first and were followed by notes of light citrus and pale grains. The taste was simple, straightforward, and easy to grasp. The light and crisp hop profile added an herbal zing to the mix. And unlike typical Flying Dog offerings, this hop profile was not aggressive at all, which I assume is by design to give the beer balance and refreshment. The beer had a light body and was a mild-mannered easy drinker. The finish was crisp, clean, and exited with a light herbal bready aftertaste.

Overall, I found the 2014 version of Flying Dog's Secret Stash Harvest Ale to be a delightfully refreshing brew. I think it's one of the few lighter beers out there that can appeal to a wide variety of craft beer fans. Novices will love the simple and accessible flavors, while seasoned drinkers will appreciate the high quality departure from beastly brews. To put it another way, this beer is the perfect porch companion. So the next time you find yourself lounging on a lazy fall day, grab yourself a Secret Stash Harvest Ale and offer a toast to all the hard working farmers that make craft beer possible.

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Secret Stash Harvest Ale by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
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